What is Employee Engagement?
Why does employee engagement matter?
For the employee, employee engagement is about truly feeling as a member of the organization. An engaged employee is willing to go that extra mile for the company. This is why a high level of employee engagement is a critical driver of business success and improves organizational performance in many ways.
Engaged employees are your most efficient salesforce
When the workforce is involved in the company’s mission and vision, it is more dedicated, more loyal, more productive, and better aligned with your overall strategy. As customer experience begins with an organization’s people, it is crucial that employees are happy and that they are motivated to keep customers happy too. Driven employees will develop relationships with prospects and clients and position themselves as go-to resources for information about your products or services. It’s as simple as this: if you want to increase your sales, invest in your employees’ involvement with the company.
Your employees are your strongest and most authentic brand ambassadors
Engaged employees are positive about your organization. Therefore, they typically represent it well outside the office. They enjoy talking about their job, and when they do, they speak highly of it. They are natural brand ambassadors who promote your brand's message to the outside world without even realizing it.
Retain and attract valuable talent
Engaged enthusiastic about their work are less likely to leave their jobs, therefore your turnover rate will be low. In addition, recruiting is easy when your external brand image is positive. Investing in your employees’ involvement will get you more qualified applicants, so you will be able to hire employees faste and reduce your average cost per hire.
How to identify engaged employees
Employee engagement can take many forms. It is a linear model, meaning that there is a point of zero (totally disengaged) and a point of exceptional emotional commitment, with all employees falling somewhere on that scale. If you're looking to identify engaged employees, it helps to look at their attitude and behavior in the work environment. A few indicators of (high) employee engagement include:
Willingness to learn and grow
Is your employee excited to learn new skills? Does he or she look for conferences, workshops, speaking opportunities, or courses? That's a good sign! Engaged employees are enthusiastic about their work and are eager to find ways to improve themselves professionally.
Tendency to bring new ideas to the table
Engaged employees see how their company can do better. They are the ones who are constantly looking for ways to improve your processes, become more efficient, and save money.
Keeping up to date with industry news
Engaged employees follow industry news on their own accord. They continuously read up on the company, trends, and competition.
Readiness to refer friends
Engaged employees refer their friends to your company's services and products and make their network aware of open positions in your company.
Triggering employee engagement
If you see the above traits in your employees, recognize their performance and reward them. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes to tell someone how much you appreciate their work. Significant or continuous accomplishments can be rewarded with career advancement or added responsibility, for example. You want people to feel valued and cultivate a culture of engagement that will spread throughout the company.
Suppose your company struggles with a lack of involvement. In that case, it is crucial to recognize signs of low engagement and start building a culture that fosters engagement. The first thing you need to do is develop your organizations' mission statement. It should concisely describe what your organization does and for whom. It should also clearly state on which norms and values your organization acts. Next, make sure every employee knows and understands the organization's mission statement. It provides them with a sense of direction. Then, consider what you can do to create involvement and empower employees. Think of options such as investing in technological advancements, providing learning opportunities, and creating a trusting environment with open two-way communication. If you consistently concentrate on employee needs, you can slowly drive and maintain a strong company culture.
Leveraging employee engagement
If you want to actively encourage employees to promote your organization through their personal social networks, consider setting up an employee advocacy program. Through an employee advocacy program, your employees can share company-approved content or job openings to their social channels and provide valuable feedback to your organization.
There are three things you need to get an employee advocacy program off the ground:
- Content that your employees love
Don't expect employees to share all your content blindly. Provide them with the right kind of content. Content that they're passionate about. Involve your employees in your social media marketing. If you want to boost social selling, for example, reach out to your sales team and ask their opinion on what type of content would best fit their selling needs.
Online engagement comes from the natural overlap between what people are interested in and the content you present. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Not all content matches every employee. Look for ways to segment your staff and target your content accordingly.
- An employee advocacy platform
An employee advocacy platform like Social Seeder facilitates social sharing and tells you which content works well, inside and outside your business. It simplifies the entire process of setting up and evaluating your employee advocacy or engagement program. It has tools for activation and engagement and helps you evaluate your program by telling you which employees share the most or generate the most attention from others.
- Role model managers
Leaders have a tremendous impact on company culture. Strong leaders provide a sense of vision, purpose, mentorship, and inspiration to those they lead. Managers must exemplify the culture they preach. They should engage and prioritize engagement.
Engagement leads to more engagement
You don't need an army of employee advocates to start an employee advocacy program. On the contrary: you can start an employee advocacy program with just a few power ambassadors that can kick-start your engagement program. Once you adopt a program and you have the technology, the data, and the necessary support to optimize your employee communications, you can engage them on social networks. By communicating more frequently and effectively, you involve employees more actively and increase engagement among the workforce. Employee advocacy programs also help employees expand their professional networks and networking potential. As a result, they feel empowered and more engaged. By the way, social networks are in nature more engaging than regular e-mail communications. Employees may feel they have more of a voice when they are active on social with the employer's support.
If employee engagement was not on your radar until now, or if you were not sure why it is worth your investment, hopefully this has been a good introduction to this concept. Remember, the management needs to lead by example, your content needs to be authentic, and you should build your program with a trusted, experienced partner who can provide you with the right mix of methodology, technology and experience.